Trucking boss sentenced to 20 years for drug offenses and fuel fraud
Reginald Roberts is taken to court after being arrested for drug possession in 2019. Photo: Nine News.
SA trucking boss Reginald Roberts, 68, was sentenced to combined jail terms of 20 years and six months for his role in a massive methamphetamine bust and filing bogus claims for fuel.
Roberts was sentenced in January to 10 years and six months in prison with a six-year and 10-month non-parole period for transporting $ 270 million in methamphetamine in 2018.
Upon conviction on the drug charge, Judge Ian Press found that Roberts had not been a mastermind in importing the drug but had taken “substantial action” to ensure that the 313 kg of methamphetamine hit the streets.
But that news had been suppressed until this week as he was sued by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for setting up bogus transport companies and filing bogus claims for fuel reimbursements.
Yesterday, South Australia’s District Court sentenced Roberts to an additional 10 years in prison after being convicted of obtaining a financial advantage through deception.
Between 2002 and 2006, Roberts, who already operated trucking companies in South Australia, created three other companies: Double R Logistics, Inter Link Freight Services and Phillip Williams Pty Ltd.
He used false identities and filed 75 fraudulent claims for more than 20 million liters of fuel, without any proof that it was ever purchased or used under the Diesel and Alternative Fuels Subsidy Program and the credit for energy subsidies, which were designed to allow heavy roads. transportation companies claim 18.51 cents per liter of fuel used.
As a result of an investigation, it was found that no trucks were registered at the companies at the time, and searches of Roberts’ home and business found no business records to support further $ 3.8 million in taxpayer money he claimed.
Assistant Commissioner Ian Read welcomed the conviction this week.
“This result demonstrates the ATO’s commitment to detecting and prosecuting tax crimes, no matter how long,” said Deputy Commissioner Ian Read.
“We have a duty to the community to protect the integrity of the tax and super systems, and we have no tolerance for blatant fraud as we have seen in this case. Mr Roberts has gained an unfair advantage over Australians doing the right thing, robbing the Australian economy of millions of dollars that could have been spent on essential services. Tax crime is not victimless.
Read said the condemnation remarks from yesterday’s results relate to the comprehensive analysis undertaken by the ATO to detect this crime.
“Our investigation of large amounts of irrelevant material provided by Mr. Roberts has been described as a ‘Herculean’ task by His Honor Judge Stretton. This case demonstrates that we have the resources to actively uncover those who attempt to cheat the tax system, ”Read said.
The Diesel and Alternative Fuel Grants Scheme and the Energy Grants Credit Scheme operated from 2000 to 2003 and 2003 to 2006 respectively before being replaced by fuel tax credits.
This scheme provides eligible businesses with a fuel tax credit that is included in the price of fuel used in machinery, plant, equipment, heavy vehicles and light vehicles traveling off public or private roads.
“We have approximately 256,000 customers registered for the fuel tax credit and generally see high levels of compliance,” Read added.
“We conduct targeted compliance activities to tackle aggressive claims and deliberate non-compliance and while most people do the right thing, those who deliberately try to cheat the tax system can expect to feel any the force of the law. “